The long wait is almost over for New Zealand's Olympics-bound rugby sevens teams.
After nearly 18 months since their last official international games, the men’s and women’s teams play Australia in a three-day series, starting tomorrow at an unlikely venue.
Excitement for the occasion is an understatement – just ask returning star Portia Woodman.
“I can't [believe this day has come] but then again, I've worked bloody hard to get here,” Woodman added.
There's no doubt about that with tomorrow ending nearly three years out of the international spotlight for Woodman after a blown Achille's in 2018, serious hamstring injury in 2019 and Covid-19 cancellations in 2020.
Woodman doesn’t expect any rust come kick-off, though.
“It's the best I've been in 10 years, physically and mentally,” she said.
“I needed to make changes — that was my diet, prehab, rehab. Everything around that, I had to change to make sure I got back to what I wanted to be.”
There's six games over three days against the current Olympic champs – the 24-17 loss a result that still stings Woodman five years later.
“Ever since that day, I said to my mum I never want to feel like that again,” Woodman said.